Who We Are: The Consent Awareness & Sexual Education Club
We are a group of University of Calgary students seeking to educate others on campus about consent: what it is, what it looks like, and why it is essential to healthy relationships and preventing sexual assault. Consent is defined as: permission or agreement to do something.
We believe sexual assault prevention should not involve victim blaming, that is, telling people to adjust their behaviour, such as wearing certain clothing or not consuming alcohol, in order to avoid being sexually assaulted. Sexual assault only happens when someone chooses to commit sexual assault by either disregarding or not making efforts to obtain another's consent.
By encouraging communication between partners, we aim to reduce the most common form of sexual assault, which is acquaintance sexual assault, where the perpetrator is known to the victim. Anyone is capable of committing sexual assault if they do not understand or prioritize consent in their relationships. Through our work we hope that all students on campus gain a thorough understanding of consent and recognize that sex without consent is sexual assault.
We need your help to do this work, which is ambitious and multifaceted. Below we highlight some of our accomplishments to give you a better idea of what we do on campus.
Our Work So Far
With nothing but big hearts, some of our personal savings, and donations from our parents,
CASE had a very successful first year as a club in the 2013/14 academic year. Our hard work was rewarded with the Students' Union Clubs Advocacy Award and Honourable Mention for Best New Club in April 2014.
We are currently in our second year and have seen considerable growth in support on campus, our membership base, the scope of our projects, and media coverage. Below are some highlights:
Campus Security Alert Wording Changes: Working with the Students' Union and other student leaders and activists, CASE endorsed a petition to change the wording on campus security alerts to state,"A victim of crime is not responsible for the actions of a perpetrator.”
Take Back the Night: CASE participates annually in Take Back the Night, a march that is a call to action for the city to end gender-based violence, and to create an environment where women feel safe to walk the streets alone at night.
Bystander Intervention Training for the Campus Bar, the Den: In September, we collaborated with the Students' Union and the Calgary Sexual Health Centre to bring Bystander Intervention Training to the staff of the U of C's popular campus bar, the Den.
The goal of this training was to educate and equip staff to identify situations of sexual harassment and empower patrons to address the situation and feel safe and supported establishing their boundaries. This initiative earned CASE coverage from media outlets throughout the city, including the cover of the Calgary Herald.
2014 Halloween Campaign: Most recently, we executed a cheeky Halloween consent awareness campaign featuring large banners placed in high-traffic areas throughout MacEwan Hall,
CASE volunteers handing out goodie bags to students (filled with candy, condoms and an
informative CASE bookmark), and information booths set up in Residence, Mac Hall and ICT
Student engagement and support is another pillar of our work – we have hosted several discussion nights about consent and healthy relationships in U of C Residence buildings, all of which have been well attended and received positive feedback from students.
Planning of the December 6 Memorial of the 1989 Montreal Massacre: Victoria Bergeron our VP Events, heavily advocated for the theme of the memorial to be on bystander intervention. The memorial, themed “Silence is Complicity,” was emceed by CASE President, Emily Leedham, who spoke on the importance of speaking out against cyber-bullying and online harassment.
The Sub-Committee on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: CASE instigated the creation of this committee by calling for university administration to address online harassment within the campus community. This committee's goal is to create a report of recommendations for the Provost by May 2015. We have advocated for language that is supportive of survivors of sexual abuse and is reflective of the online harassment that has become commonplace in our digital culture in the sub-committee’s recommendations. Recommendations that we hope will help shape the update of the current 25 year-old university harassment policy.
Bake Sale: Held a Bake Sale in the beginning of February, which featured an assortment of Valentine's day-themed goodies and decorations to match which proved to be both very successful and engaging for our volunteers and active members.
Development and Roll-Out of “The Active Bystander Initiative”: CASE VP Academic Jennah Martens-Forrester is currently collaborating with Meg Martin of UCalgaryStrong UCalgaryStrong on the development and roll-out of the initiative. CASE executives are reviewing the program and making recommendations, with CASE VP Residence Hilary Jahelka sitting on the committee of the program.
Quality Money Proposal Submission in Collaboration with the Women’s Resource Centre: We requested funding for a three-year program – the “Sexual Assault Prevention Project – Creating a Culture of Consent.” An exciting step for us, which we are confident will receive significant consideration as it is another proactive step for the university in preventing sexual assault on campus.
Petition to Include Consent as a Part of Sexual Education in our Schools: Sarah, an active CASE member as well as Jennah Martens-Forrester, have created and collected signatures with the goal in mind to petition to the Alberta Legislative Assembly to get consent incorporated in to the Sex Education curriculum. This document has already been approved by Parliament Council, so we hope to add consent as a crucial aspect of the dialogue involved in school-wide sexual education discussion.
Do you want to make the University of Calgary a safer place?
Please donate here to help us continue this important work.
Even 5 or 10 dollars goes a long way :)
Help us continue engaging the campus community!
Please donate here to help us continue this important work
Even 5 or 10 dollars goes a long way :)
What Are We Doing Next?
The last day of classes on campus is known as Bermuda Shorts Day, which is a huge party for students to celebrate the end of the semester. On campus, there is a concert and beer gardens, with many students migrating to house parties, bars and clubs afterwards.
We want to ensure that everyone has a safe and fun BSD, so we are planning a large consent awareness campaign to engage students in a positive way as they celebrate.
We hope to double the scale of our Halloween campaign, which cost approximately $1000 for print materials and goodie bags.
With $2000 we can engage even more of the University of Calgary's 30,000 students with re-usable vinyl banners, buttons, posters, condoms, stickers, high quality trifolds for our information booths, and targeted social media marketing.
This is where we need you!
Please donate here via PayPal to ensure this year's BSD campaign is a success!
Help us raise $2000 and provide CASE with campaign materials to engage even more students.
Even 5 or 10 dollars goes a long way!
A big thank you to all who have supported us over the past year and a half, we would not be a successful club without you and your generous support. You have helped create an important movement to promote a safe and respectful environment for all students at the University of Calgary!
CASE VP Student Engagement Tonie Minhas speaks at event to support Taradale sexual assault survivor
After a horiffic sexual assault incident in her community of Taradale, our VP Student Engagement Tonie Minhas stepped up in her community to help organize the Glow in the Dark vigil. The event was covered by Global News. Watch the full video here.
“Unfortunately I can’t always feel safe walking home from the train station either…I encouraged all my family and my friends to be here too. There’s solidarity in numbers so hopefully we can make our survivor feel a little more supported," says Minhas.
One of our CASE members is currently working on contributing to the conversation around sexual trauma in our community. This is being done through women’s contributions of their stories on their experience with sexual trauma. These stories will be collaborated into a book, and once published all proceeds will go to a charity that supports healing sexual trauma in our community (this charity is yet to be decided). The book’s name is True, for what is true for women now is much different than what was true for women 5, 10 or 50 years ago. Though truth is fluid and ever changing, and while it is recognized that the conversation around sexual trauma in our community certainly exists, the creators of True wish to contribute to the conversation of healing, empowerment and freedom as opposed to victimhood and shame.
There are women we have known for years, and may even be close with who have a story they’ve never shared because the stigma around sexual trauma and silence is so pervasive. Through the authentic sharing of one, another person can feel freedom to share authentically as well.
True is still looking for stories from the community! If you, or someone you know wishes to contribute to the conversation around sexual trauma in a powerful way please email us at email@example.com. True is also seeking a graphic designer inspired by the True story, and any other person who sees an opportunity for themselves in the editing process.
Details on writing:
We hope that wherever this book ends up, the woman (or man) reading it will find it healing and empowering as well as the person writing.
For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org.